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Improving the 'work readiness' of undergraduate psychology students through a final-year volunteer placement

O'Connor, Erin L., Hansen, Julie A., & White, Katherine M. (2008) Improving the 'work readiness' of undergraduate psychology students through a final-year volunteer placement. In Effective Teaching and Learning Conference, 30-31 October 2008, Brisbane, Australia. (Unpublished)

Abstract

Psychology Baccalaureates often report difficulty describing their skills and knowledge to potential employers. Although they are not eligible for registration as Psychologists, they graduate with a valuable set of skills and knowledge which may be applied to in a wide range of positions in the government, health, education, and private sectors (Australian Psychological Society, 2008; Pooley & Cohen, 2007; Borden & Rajecki, 2000). To clarify students’ awareness of their graduate competencies, strengthen the students’ connections with the profession, and to provide an opportunity to apply the knowledge and skills that the psychological curriculum provides, a volunteer placement unit was designed. This unit was offered as an elective for final-year undergraduate students. The placements were not driven by accreditation requirements, but were opportunities for students to apply their knowledge and skills in a variety of roles and industries. The placements focused on student development through a combination of experiential and observational learning. Students (N = 23), in collaboration with the placement supervisors and a university staff member, were responsible for the design of the placement and developed their own learning plan and criterion-referenced assessment for this aspect of the course. Students also completed a mini-conference or ‘trade show’ and reflective essay at the end of the volunteer work-placement. This presentation will report the initial findings of an on-going multi-method evaluation which has been designed to determine how well the unit objectives were met, the utility of the unit content as a professional development intervention, and how different motivations to engage in volunteering may influence the outcomes of the unit.

Impact and interest:

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ID Code: 15582
Item Type: Conference Paper
Additional Information: For more information, please refer to the conference's website (see hypertext link) or contact the author.
Additional URLs:
Keywords: work intergrated learning, service learning, professional development, HERN
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > EDUCATION (130000) > EDUCATION SYSTEMS (130100) > Higher Education (130103)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2008 (please consult author)
Deposited On: 25 Nov 2008
Last Modified: 15 Jan 2009 18:38

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